The Use of Caper in Food Technology

The Use of Caper in Food Technology

Caper, which grows in different regions of the world and is generally common in hot climates, is also

known as “caper bush (capparis spinosa)”. It is in the Capparaceae family. Caper is internationally known for its processed flower buds, which has long been used in nutrition as a commercial value product. This seasoning product, which is unique to the Mediterranean cuisine, has exceeded this limit within the framework of the new gastronomy understanding that has changed and diversified and has become known worldwide as a valuable identifier of refined and gourmet flavors. Although caper is included in many countries' food legislation as a spice/seasoning product and is accepted as GRAS*, it has not yet achieved quality standards in the form of raw or processed products [1].

High economic yield caper is used for food purposes. Its pea-sized buds are rich in vitamins, minerals, polyphenolic* substances, protein, caparirutin* and glucocaparin*. In addition, caper, whose rejuvenating effect was discovered, is used as a seasoning on the tables. Although caper is not a basic food consumed alone, it contributes to the flavor or serves as a garnish* by entering other food or food products' structure. Brines* and pickles, cold and hot sauces, cheeses, frozen products, vegetarian foods, ready meals, appetizers, salads, meat and seafood products, vegetables, eggs and bakery products can be listed as some food and food products using caper [2].

“Caper paste (pate)”, prepared from processed buds, is not yet ubiquitous and needs to be developed. In addition to the bud, it contains vinegar and/or olive oil, black olives, lemon juice, mustard and anchovy* [1].

In Turkey, capers are brought to enterprises at 18-20% salt concentration in brine or dry salting. After weighing, sorting and calibration processes, the salt concentration of the caper brine in the drums is completed to 20%. When it is given to the market, it is ensured that the salt ratio is between 2.5-4.0% (in equilibrium). Besides, alcohol vinegar is added to brine between 1.5-2.5% (in equilibrium). Finally, it is pasteurized in jars at 55-66°C/10-15 minutes. For example, when pickled caper is prepared in Spain and Italy, it is pickled with high salt (16%) as in our country in the first step. After the first brine is changed, the salt ratio is required to be 20% in equilibrium. After the pre-treatment stage, the capers are packaged in brine with 6% salt and 1% acid (in terms of lactic acid). 

In cucumber pickles made by natural fermentation, removing unwanted changes in tissue due to deterioration in the fruit flesh* and is performed using pure culture. Taking this principle into consideration, it has been investigated to remove the undesirable changes that occur in the first stage in the production of caper pickles by using pure culture (L. plantarum). It was observed that fermentation started earlier in pure cultured samples. Thus, unwanted changes that may occur at the beginning are prevented. Since the pure culture used (L. plantarum) is from the homofermentative* lactic acid group, the resulting acidity (in terms of % lactic acid) is higher. It was revealed that parameters such as mold, Mg, Ca, Fe and Na were positively affected in the pickled capers made under controlled conditions, and the reducing sugar and protein remaining in the environment at the end of fermentation were found to be less [3].

For commercial purposes, the grades of caper are based on the bud diameter, ranging from 7 to 17 mm. Small and delicious pickles made from capers are examples of commercial ones. Smaller ones are more preferred [4].

The phenolic compound content and the beneficial effects of Capparis spinosa seed extracts* (CSSE) against the toxicity* induced using cisplatin* and CCl4 treatment were studied. The results obtained confirm the nutritional and medicinal benefits of C. Spinosa and highlight the potential use of seeds as a source of bioantioxidants fort the food and pharmaceutical industries [5].


*GRAS : The United States Food and Drug Administration title, in which a chemical or substance added to food is considered safe by experts, generally regarded as safe.

*Polyphenolic: A structure made up of compounds with more than one phenol group in each molecule.

*Caparirutin : Rutoside and quercetin-3-O-rutinoside and caper composition of rutin, a citrus flavonoid, also called sophorin.

*Glucocaparin: It is a glycoside substance in the flavor of caper fruit.

*Garnish: Boiled vegetables, potatoes, blarneys, scallions, etc., that are placed next to various main dishes (meat, fish) for decoration or to supplement food.

*Brine: Saltwater, a highly concentrated salt solution in water.

*Anchovy: A fish paste originating in Italy, made from sardines, anchovies and some types of fish.

*Fruit flesh: Pulp, the soft, juicy and moist part of a fruit.

*Homofermentative: A kind of fermentation that ferments carbohydrates to lactic acid, resulting in a single end product, especially from economically crucial lactic acid bacteria. 

*Extract: Plant extracts obtained using unique extraction methods of dried herbs.

*Toxicity: The degree to which a substance harms a living organism.

*CisplatinA drug used in chemotherapy to treat cancer. 






[1] Akgül, A. (1996). Yeniden Keşfedilen Lezzet : Kapari. Gıda, 21(2), 122-123.

[2] Çil, Y., M., Şat, İ., G. (2013) Yeni Bir Tarımsal Ürün : Kapari (Capparis spp.) Gaziosmanpaşa Bilimsel Araştırma Dergisi, 6, 64-65.

[3] Kalkan, H., Özcan, A., Aktan, N. (1999). Saf Kültür Kullanılarak Kapari (Capparis spp.) Çiçek Tomurcuklarından Turşu Yapımı. Gıda, 24(6), 391-395.

[4] Rivera, D., Alcaraz, F., J. (2003). Review of Food and Medicinal Uses of Capparis L. Subgenus Capparis (Capparidaceae), 57, 528-530. 

[5] Tir, M., Feriani, A., Labidi, A., Mufti, A., Saadaoui, E., Nasri, N., Khaldi, A., Cafsi, M., E., Tlili, N. (2019) Protective effects of phytochemicals of Capparis spinosa seeds with cisplatin and CCl4 toxicity in mice. 28, 42-48.